Hello, I'm Mengde, and this is something new for me – an experiment, even. Obligatory: I don't own FFVII or these characters. This fic is rated T for explicit language, themes, and yaoi. Without further ado, then…
A FFVII/Crisis Core Fan Fiction
Written by Mengde
The sun beat down on the line of men as they stood at attention in front of the command center. Alpha Site, the location of the SOLDIER training grounds, was situated several miles outside Midgar. The site was made up of the command center, the barracks, the mess hall, the infirmary, and the armory; the rest of the site was made up of obstacle courses, fields, and tents.
The front door of the command center swung open, and Genesis Rhapsodos stepped out into the sunlight. He descended the three steps to the ground with stately grace, then approached the recruits.
It was more of the same, he observed with a distinct feeling of disappointment. A bunch of large, burly men, muscles bulging against the seams of their fatigues, all of them fantastically ugly. It was a good thing that SOLDIERs wore masks, else he would rather be publicly shamed than lead any of them into combat.
Then his eyes lit upon the one exception in the line. A young man, with wide blue eyes, a spiky mop of blonde hair atop his head, soft, almost feminine features, and a lean, nubile body that was not suited in the slightest to anything as rigorous as SOLDIER training.
Genesis felt his lips curve into a smile. There was a God.
"Gentlemen," he said, beginning to pace up and down the line. "You're all here because you want to be the best of the best. If you pass, you will join the ranks of the most elite warriors in the world – SOLDIER." A general murmur of excitement rippled through the ranks, which Genesis immediately silenced with a snap of his gloved fingers. "However, I must warn you. This is not a vocation for the faint of heart. Many of you will fail. It is my hope that you will not, but hope only goes so far. If you want my help, however…" He stopped in front of the blonde, gave him a smirk. The young man met his gaze, his eyes wide, his expression confused. "I can be accommodating."
He moved on. "That is all. Sergeant Kunsel will take over from here." Genesis motioned for the Second Class SOLDIER, who had been waiting in the doorway to the command center, to come forward. "If anyone has any concerns –" he looked at the blonde again, locked eyes with his – "come see me. I have a private room in the barracks and an office in the command center."
The young man cast his eyes to the ground and swallowed. Genesis felt his lips curve into a smile again. This one was going to be very fun indeed.
"Do you mind if I sit here?" Genesis asked.
The mess hall at mealtime was loud, but Genesis's voice cut through the noise and made the blonde stiffen. He looked up from his meal and immediately straightened in his seat. "Sir! I –"
"At ease, Recruit. As I said, do you mind?"
Genesis smiled at him and seated himself with his usual fluid poise. He watched the young man closely, observed that those lovely blue eyes had become fixed squarely on the table. "What's your name, Recruit?"
"Cloud. Cloud Strife."
"Good to formally make your acquaintance, Cloud." Genesis extended a hand across the table, and Cloud stared at it for a moment as though it were going to bite. "It's all right. Go ahead."
Cloud shook Genesis's hand; his grip was firm, but in the same instant delicate. Genesis examined the blonde's fingers, admired their elegance. Here was a rare specimen, indeed. "So, Cloud. Why are you here?" Genesis asked.
"Well, I want to be a SOLDIER."
"But why?" Genesis asked, picking absentmindedly at his food, his gaze fixed on Cloud's face the entire time. "What draws you to us?"
"Well… there was nothing in my hometown, really. Nobody who stays there ever leaves or does anything important, and I don't want to do that. I –" he blushed, and Genesis felt his breath hitch at the sight of the flush creeping onto those pale cheeks – "I've always thought General Sephiroth was a real hero."
That was like a blow. Genesis thought furiously, keeping his expression neutral. He would have to work carefully. Sephiroth was everything to him and he had no wish to defame him, but at the same time they were rivals on many levels. He would not lose this fight, especially when Sephiroth wasn't even here.
"Oh, he is, Cloud," Genesis finally said. "I've seen him kill a dozen men in seconds. What's more, he's a tactical and strategic genius and an inspired leader. I, too, greatly… admire him."
"You know him personally?" Cloud asked, the excitement written on his face clear as day.
"Indeed. We're very close." Genesis shrugged. "It's a shame he's away on a mission, else I'd introduce you to him. I'm sure he'd find you very interesting."
"You think so?"
"I find myself in agreement," a familiar voice said.
Genesis twisted himself around in his seat, his stomach knotting of its own accord. No, not here, it was impossible –
Sephiroth sat down next to him. "Genesis," he said. "Good to see you. And who's your companion?"
Genesis looked from him to Cloud and tried to resist grinding his teeth. The expression on the recruit's face was barely short of orgasmic. His jaw hung open and his eyes were practically shining. "Good to see you as well," Genesis said, careful to hide his irritation. "This is Cloud. Cloud, I think my friend bears no introduction."
With a smirk, Sephiroth brushed a lock of silver hair out of his face. "Genesis flatters me. I am pleased to make your acquaintance, Cloud."
The blonde managed to regain the presence of mind to click his mouth shut and nod, once, and jerkily at that. Somewhat desperate to regain control of the conversation, Genesis said, "So, Cloud, you were telling me about your interest in SOLDIER. Where do you come from, then?"
It took several seconds for Cloud to register that he was being spoken to, and even then he didn't even bother to look at Genesis when replying. "Nibelheim. Central Continent."
"I've never been," Sephiroth said, beginning to eat his own food. "Is it a small town?"
"How many people would you estimate?" Genesis asked.
"No idea." Cloud continued to stare at Sephiroth, and Genesis felt his anger reach a critical point.
"What are you doing here?" he asked the other First Class. "I thought you were off on a mission."
"I completed it, of course," Sephiroth replied. "I decided to stop here on my way back to Midgar, and I have to say I'm glad I did. It seems like you have a promising batch of new recruits." He gave Cloud a small smile; the blonde turned bright red and Genesis wrestled with the urge to take him right there.
Instead, he forced a smile of his own. "I would say so, too. Oh – Cloud, could you do us a favor? Sephiroth seems to have forgotten to get a drink for himself."
"I can –" Sephiroth started, but before a third word was out of his mouth Cloud was walking toward the faucet, a cup in hand. He waited a beat until the recruit was out of earshot. "Well, Genesis. You've found yourself an interesting one."
"Why are you really here?" Genesis asked.
"To tell you the truth, I just wanted to drop by and see you again," Sephiroth replied with a grin. "It's been a while, after all. But it seems I've arrived just in time to save that poor young man from your clutches, Genesis."
"Don't you dare," Genesis growled. "As childish as this might sound, I did see him first. Besides, you can tell he's delicate. He's no proper candidate for SOLDIER."
"Is that your plan?" Sephiroth chuckled. "You're going to be the caring, understanding general, comforting the poor boy when he inevitably scrapes his knee? I think I'll stay on for a while and see if I can't help him with his training a little."
"It really is good to see you again." Sephiroth gave Genesis's shoulder a squeeze. "I'll be in my office if you need me." His eyes flicked to Cloud; the blonde was near the front of the line for the faucet. "Knock first."
Cloud returned a minute later. "Where'd the General go?"
"He got an emergency call," Genesis replied. "Had to take it in his office. I'm sorry to have sent you over there for nothing."
"It's fine. I – thank you for introducing me to him."
"It was my pleasure, Cloud." Genesis patted the young man's hand, smiled. "My pleasure."
Temperatures reached record-breaking highs in the week that followed. Genesis watched through his office window as the recruits returned from their daily run. He noted that Cloud lagged far behind the rest of the group. The young man half-ran, half-staggered toward his fellow recruits, obviously about to fall over from the dehydration and exhaustion. They'd only been training for four days, and Cloud had already lost weight. There were dark circles under his eyes throughout the day now.
Genesis had been keeping himself in check, not wanting to appear desperate in front of Sephiroth, but he was nearing the limits of his patience. He watched as Cloud stumbled into position in the line, his body covered in sweat and dirt. This was too much. Genesis desperately wanted to call the blonde in here, throw him onto the desk, and see how much of the paperwork would get ruined in the ensuing frenzy.
Yet he had to wait for the right time. There had to be an opportunity, a way to bring the young man closer to him without appearing solicitous. He needed Cloud to want him, to say yes without being pushed to – otherwise, there was little point in the conquest, sweet as the boy might be.
Then Genesis saw his chance. Cloud had evidently drained his canteen during the run. One of the other recruits had just offered him a sip from his, only to be reprimanded by Sergeant Kunsel somewhat severely. Genesis bolted out of his office, rushed to the door of the command center, then composed himself before opening it.
"Sergeant," he called as Kunsel was in the midst of his verbal lashing. "That is quite enough."
"Sir?" Kunsel asked.
"There's nothing wrong with a little human kindness here and there," Genesis said.
"Sir, one of the points of these exercises is for the recruits to learn to conserve their supplies. It's not even noon yet and Strife is all out of water. What if this were a combat situation?"
Genesis gave him a look, which shut him up. "Not all of us have equal capabilities, Sergeant. Strife is trying as hard as he can, and we must acknowledge that. Soldiers help one another. That is fraternity." He took his own canteen from his hip and handed it to Cloud, who looked at it with a kind of timid trepidation that he found intensely appealing. "Go ahead, Recruit. I promise you I'm not sick."
Cloud flushed again – how Genesis loved that – and took a long drink before handing it back. "Thank you, sir."
"It's nothing." Genesis hesitated a moment, then decided on a bold move – he lifted the flask to his own lips and took a mouthful before replacing it at his hip. He met Cloud's gaze, made a show of licking his lips. The blonde cast his own gaze to the ground, and Genesis felt the smile asserting itself again. "That will be all for now, Sergeant."
As he turned back to the command center, Genesis could feel the eyes of the men on him, but the eyes he was concerned about belonged to Sephiroth. The other man was watching him from the command center, his emerald eyes narrowed and his lips pressed into a thin line.
Genesis smirked at him. The first move was his, and it had been a victory. Now Sephiroth was on the defense, and that was the way he liked it.
The next day, however, Sephiroth proved bolder than Genesis expected. When he sat down at his desk at nine, the recruits were usually outside, doing calisthenics. Today was like the others, save for the fact that he didn't see Cloud among their numbers.
If the young man had been taken ill, Genesis would have been informed, so there had to be something else going on. He sat in his office and stewed, unable to concentrate on any of his work, for the better part of two hours.
Finally, just as the thin thread of his patience was about to run out, an opportunity was presented to him. He made to staple some papers together and found his stapler was empty. Sephiroth rarely came to Alpha Site, so most of the time his office was used as the depository for all supplies for the command center. Genesis would have to go in to get more staples, so he decided to make the most of the trip.
He knocked, heard Sephiroth call for him to enter. When he opened the door, it took all his self-control to keep his expression blank. Cloud was seated on the other side of Sephiroth's desk, doing busywork.
"Good morning," Sephiroth said. As Genesis entered, Cloud looked over his shoulder and began to stand up, but Sephiroth interrupted. "Don't stand on decorum here, Cloud. We needn't be so formal."
"Yes," Genesis said. "Quite." He stared at Sephiroth, making sure the expression was just shy of a glare. "Drafted the recruit for a little secretary work, I see?"
"Quite a lot of it piled up while I was away," Sephiroth replied. "Cloud has been very helpful, Genesis – very helpful indeed. Now, do you need something?"
"Staples," Genesis said through gritted teeth. He managed to turn his clenched teeth into a grin, and nodded when Cloud handed him a box of them. "Thank you, Cloud. Are you feeling all right? You looked very drained yesterday."
"I'm doing better, thank you," Cloud said. "General Sephiroth's given me a bit of a breather. Sergeant Kunsel didn't like it, but I'm grateful."
"It's no problem," Sephiroth assured him, looking smug as a cat watching the progress of a limp mouse.
Genesis stalked back to his office, cursing the situation. He had been so proud of his move with the canteen, and now Sephiroth had gone and trumped it in one fell swoop. Add in the fact that the blonde was already enamored with Sephiroth, and things were looking difficult indeed.
He usually hated to force the issue, but this would not stand. Sephiroth would be gloating, confident in his position after winning this round. Now was the time for Genesis to score a major upset, to get the blonde on his side and in his bed.
Collapsing back into his chair, Genesis toyed with the box of staples for a while, turning it over and over in his hand. Distracted as he was, he only noticed he was staring out the window when Kunsel sent one of the recruits flying with a punch. They were undergoing basic hand-to-hand training, something they would no doubt spend several days on.
That was it. That would be his opening. Grinning, Genesis loaded his stapler and snapped the cover home. It meant waiting another day, but Kunsel could be relied upon. A word from Genesis would be all it took.
He pounded a staple into the papers.
Just as planned, one of the other recruits showed up at Genesis's door the next day. "Sir," he said. "Apologies for the disturbance."
Genesis, who was reading LOVELESS to pass the time, let the recruit sit there for a minute while he finished a passage. "What is it?" he finally asked.
"It's Strife, sir," the recruit said. "We're practicing strikes, and Sergeant Kunsel hit him a bit too hard. We're pretty sure he has some broken ribs."
"A shame," Genesis said, careful to affect a tone of boredom. "Is my presence necessary?"
"Well, sir, the medic at the infirmary can patch him up, but as a First you have personal materia, right? Sergeant Kunsel thought you might have a Restore on hand. It would let him get back to training faster." The recruit hesitated. "I could ask General Sephiroth, but…"
But of course they would rather not approach the legendary Sephiroth. Hiding his pleasure that everything was proceeding smoothly, Genesis snapped LOVELESS shut and gave the recruit an irritated glare. "You mean to tell me we have no Restore materia in the infirmary?" Of course, he already knew this was true. Materia was precious; it was of far more use at the front lines in Wutai than it was sitting in a training camp, even if it was a camp for SOLDIERs.
With a sigh, Genesis levered himself out of his chair. "Return to training, recruit. I'll see to Strife."
Genesis headed for the infirmary, keeping his pace brisk but not fast enough to suggest that he was genuinely hurried. He arrived at the infirmary a few minutes later; the building was essentially one long corridor lined with beds, with one room set aside for sensitive examinations or surgery. At the moment, the building was empty save for Cloud, who sat on the side of one of the beds, and the doctor, who was about to bind a stabilizing wrap around Cloud's torso.
"That won't be necessary," Genesis called to the doctor. "I should be able to heal any fractures without difficulty. Kunsel couldn't have hit him that hard."
"If you say so, sir," the doctor said. "I'll be in my office if you need my assistance."
"Thank you." Genesis waited until the doctor had disappeared to ask, "Are you all right?"
Cloud, who was naked to the waist, motioned to the ugly-looking bruise on the left side of his torso, then winced. "I guess I was just careless, sir."
"Don't worry. I'll take care of you." Genesis removed his gloves. "Lift your arms. I'll just need to examine your ribcage before I use the Restore materia. We don't want any bones healing in the wrong positions."
The blond swallowed and did as instructed. Genesis moved around the bed to stand behind him and began to probe Cloud's chest with light, explorative touches. The damage wasn't serious, but a Restore materia was needed if Cloud was going to be doing anything physical soon – and, of course, that was the idea. He saw the tips of the blonde's ears turning bright red, and he felt Cloud stiffen when he moved up and probed around one of his nipples. "This should do it," he said, channeling a burst of magic through his Restore materia. The bruise faded away immediately, and he could feel the bones knitting beneath Cloud's skin.
"Thanks," Cloud said.
"You're welcome, of course," Genesis replied. He did not remove his hand from Cloud's chest, but instead trailed his fingers up past his collarbone, along his neck, and to his jaw.
"Do you trust me, Cloud?" Genesis asked.
"Good." He tilted the blonde's head toward him, leaning forward to bring his face in line with Cloud's. The blonde's blue eyes were wider than ever, his lips were parted just slightly, and that exhilarating flush was burning on his cheeks. Closer – closer –
"I didn't realize the recruit was due for a physical," Sephiroth said.
Genesis jerked away from Cloud, staring at the other First outlined in the doorway of the infirmary. "What are you doing here?" he swore.
"I heard there had been an injury during training and thought my Restore materia might be needed," Sephiroth replied smoothly. "I had forgotten you had your own."
"Don't play dumb with me," Genesis said. "It doesn't become you."
"I don't know what you could possibly be talking about, Genesis."
"Um," Cloud interrupted, "can I go?" He looked like he wanted to melt into the floor and never be seen again.
"You're dismissed, recruit," Genesis said. "General Sephiroth and I need to have words."
Cloud nodded, his gaze stuck to his feet. He grabbed his shirt, squeezed nervously past Sephiroth, and was gone.
"Already pushing things this far, Genesis?" Sephiroth asked a moment later. "I'm disappointed."
"You know damn well why. I will have that young man, Sephiroth. You're wasting your time trying."
"I could say the same to you, since he so obviously wants me," Sephiroth chuckled. "What say we settle this permanently? We'll have a demonstration for the recruits tomorrow. A duel between the two greatest members of SOLDIER. Friendly, of course. The loser will cease pursuing Cloud. The winner can then take his time." He smirked. "Are you up to it?"
"Of course. I'll see you on the training field tomorrow at oh-eight-hundred, Sephiroth. Don't be late." Sephiroth nodded and turned to go; Genesis watched him leave, his teeth grinding. He was not about to lose to Sephiroth again.
One way or another, he would have Cloud.
Eight that morning saw the recruits assembled. Sephiroth and Genesis stood before them, both armed and ready.
"Today, you are going to get see something very few people have had the privilege to witness," Sergeant Kunsel began. "The ultimate goal of SOLDIER is to make you unbeatable. You're about to see what happens when two men who have reached that level fight. Let this be inspiration for you, because some of you –" his gaze lingered on Cloud for a moment – "sure as hell need it."
Sephiroth and Genesis turned to face one another, drawing their swords as they did. "Anything you'd like to say before we begin?" Sephiroth asked, running his hand along his sword.
"Only that you're not going to win this one," Genesis replied.
They stared at one another, ready to strike at any moment. The air was deathly quiet, and the tension mounted until it was palpable.
Then, at the breaking point, Cloud stepped forward from the line. "Okay, stop."
Both Firsts looked at him. "What?" Genesis asked. "Why?"
Cloud rubbed at his temples. "Look, I know this is about me. It's pretty clear. I mean, how often do you duel one another to give new recruits 'inspiration?' That just doesn't happen."
"Recruit!" Kunsel bellowed. "You are out of line!"
"You're telling me that?" Cloud shot back. "These men, Shin-Ra's finest, are fighting over who gets to fuck me!"
"And, I'm sorry, but did neither of you even consider the idea that I wouldn't be interested? Because I'm not. I'm straight. There's a girl back in Nibelheim who's basically the whole reason I'm here."
"But," Genesis said, "you – the blushing, the way you stared at Sephiroth – what was all that?"
"How the hell am I supposed to react when my superior officer starts coming onto me with the subtlety of a Chocobo in heat?" Cloud snapped. "I mean, the canteen thing – come on. I was embarrassed! And I was floored at meeting Sephiroth, at least until he started doing it too! What the fuck do you two think you're doing? Aren't we fighting a war? Shouldn't you be out on the front lines defending Shin-Ra instead of hanging around a training camp trying to poon young boys?"
"We have paperwork?" Sephiroth tried.
"Paperwork? Paperwork? That's fucking bullshit! Just because you're in positions of authority, you're buried in paperwork all the time? You're the most powerful human beings on the Planet and you work for a megacorporation that throws away human lives like rags! Why the fuck would they expect you to fill out paperwork? What's it even about? What paperwork could the great Sephiroth possibly need to fill out?"
Nobody had anything to say.
"And you're not the only ones!" Cloud continued. "Everyone here's made a pass at me at least once. And then there's the bathrooms – 'For a good time call "Puppy?"' 'Angeal Hewley – more like Angeal Hungley?' I thought this was an elite fighting force, not a bunch of queens! Does SOLDIER only accept flaming homosexuals, or does being a soldier in wartime automatically make you hungry for the nearest dick? I'm totally serious, here! This is not natural!"
One of the recruits coughed and looked like he wanted to die.
"Now, I understand camaraderie, and there's nothing wrong with homosexuality, but how can every single member of SOLDIER be gay? It DOESN'T! MAKE! SENSE! I would even go so far as to say that it's absolutely fucking impossible! Of course, the intense concentration of pretty men in its upper echelons is already statistically improbable, but there is a Goddamn limit to how much I will accept! Is it just that you're all terrified of women? Does the sight of breasts or the female genitalia just drive you out of your fucking skull with disgust and fear? That's not a natural way to be!"
"I'm fucking done. I'm not joining. I'm going to go join the Shin-Ra army and work my way up the right way. Besides, I might get to work with Cissnei that way, and she is incredibly bone-worthy. How all of you are so intent on excavating one another's asses with your cocks when there are women like her walking around, I have no idea."
He stomped off, paused to yell over his shoulder. "Oh, by the way? I'm fourteen fucking years old. Yeah. Way to rob the cradle, you pedophilic fucks! I hope there's a special Hell for people like you!"
Then he walked away.
For a long time, Genesis and Sephiroth just stared at one another. Finally, Sephiroth sighed and sheathed his sword. "Do you think he had a point?"
Genesis sniffed. "If he doesn't like it, he shouldn't read it."
"Nothing," Genesis replied and looked straight at the camera. "That's all, folks."
Yup. That's the end. This is my answer to every poorly-written, character-raping, asinine story that is developed purely to make two hot dudes bang. If you're pissed, I'm sorry you don't have a sense of humor. If you laughed your ass off like my lovely beta, VulcanElf, then tell me so! Either way, I hope we learned something here today. This is Mengde, signing off.